When alpaca breeder and clothing producer, Liz Wilkinson lost her long running battle to stay in her National Trust cottage, she opted for a less conventional home.
Liz had been renting a house complete with land from the National Trust without issue for many years when out of the blue she was informed that there had been a change of policy. She was no longer allowed to keep ‘non-indigenous animals’; if she wanted to stay then her beloved alpacas had to go.
Determined to keep her small herd, Liz found herself in need of a home that would accommodate both her and her extended animal family. But when her search failed to turn up anything suitable Liz came up with a novel solution; she’d buy a piece of land and her new home would be a shepherd hut.
“After looking at several manufacturers, I came across White Peak Shepherd Huts, a family run company based in the Peak District,” says Liz. “I was invited to their workshop and was very impressed by the quality of their huts but what I particularly liked was how helpful and friendly they were.”
A year on and Liz is now living happily in her new 20ft x 8ft shepherd hut home where she produces hand spun rugs and clothing from her alpaca’s fibre.
“It was clear from the first time we met Liz that she is passionate about her animals, “says Josephine Young, Partner, White Peak Shepherd Huts. “She had clearly been through a difficult time and we were determined to do all we could to build her a hut that she’d call home.”
“It wasn’t easy,” says Liz, “while I was waiting for my hut we had non-stop rain and I was squashed into a small temporary caravan with my cat and dog. The floor was covered with newspaper to soak up the mud and I had to do my laundry in one of the animal sheds.”
Liz recalls that there were numerous times when she wondered if she’d made the right decision, but when asked if it was worth the struggle now she replies with an emphatic, yes.
“I love it! I hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep in months but now I’m comfortable and warm, the hut’s surprisingly spacious, I have room for my spinning wheel and I’m with my animals.”
Liz is so happy with her shepherd hut that she is currently contemplating buying a second one for friends and family to stay in when they visit.